Emily Macdonald

For my twenty-fifth birthday, Nana gives me a Coco Channel lipstick. Re-packaged neatly in the black and gold case. I laugh. The tip is blunt, the pink waxy surface imprinted with lines from her bottom lip.

“Unhygienic,” my boyfriend grimaces. “The colour makes you look sick”.

My husband receives a tin of Valrhona Jivara chocolate. Disgusted, he sees one layer is missing, and the chocolates bloom with white powdery film. It’s the same tin, wrapped festively for Nana, the Christmas before.

In my forties I prune the withering husband, using the life savings Nana leaves me. Along with her secateurs.

This story won First Prize in the July 2021 Monthly Micro Fiction Competition.

About the author: Emily Macdonald was born in the UK but emigrated with her family to New Zealand as a child. She grew up in Auckland and studied English at Auckland University. After completing her degree, she did a one-year postgraduate course in creative writing with Albert Wendt. She started working and learning about wine as a student and has worked in the wine trade ever since. She began pursuing her interest in creative writing again at the beginning of 2020. Emily left New Zealand in 1990 to travel and now lives in south London with her partner and their two teenage children.

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